These few weeks have been super intense, I’ve produced a huge sculpture, used that sculpture in a film, started editing that film and almost finished my resurrection series.
I began with making a little maquette for my sculpture, which was eventually to become the focus of my film on reincarnation. I wanted 4 pieces of bamboo crossed over each other, supported with some cross beams. I considered using tissue paper originally (which is what I used for the maquette) but after going to the scrapstore I found lots of ribbons of netting fabric in lovely colours – purple, light blue, light pink, dark pink – which I decided I would scrunch up into little balls, held together with a couple of stitches, and thread these through fishing line.
I then spent the next few weeks working on making these little balls (500 of them!!), cutting and untangling lengths of fishing line (42 strings in total), and working out the measurements for the bamboo beams. I decided to use bamboo because I’d used it in sculpture before, it was readily available to me for free (there is a patch of it growing outside my college), it is natural and light, so it would be easy to transport to and from the filming location, which was an hour walk from my flat and I don’t have a car. I chose to have four 1.5m cross pieces, each with 8 strings on it = 32, each string with 12-15 balls on it, and was unsure what size to do the cross pieces, so I just made extra balls in case I wanted more strings. Making the sculpture was fairly easy, just very time consuming. To fix the bamboo, I drilled a small hole in the middle of each piece and threaded a piece of wire through to hold it in place. My original idea for the cross pieces was to do an octagon, one piece between each of the main bamboo beams, but I decided that a square, with holes drilled where it crossed each beam ,would be easier and more supportive. In the end each cross piece had 2 strings on it. The biggest challenge for me was how tangled the strings got, as it was impossible to transport them separately as there were so many of them, and as soon as you held a few together they got incredibly tangled. To fix this, (after spending 5 hours untangling all 42 strings), I tied each to the frame, rolled it up and taped it in a ball using masking tape. This meant that when I was carrying it to the filming location, all I had to do was take of the tape and let down each string, and when carrying it back I would tie them in a bunch with string so although there would still be some untangling later, it hopefully wouldn’t be as bad.
Last Tuesday there was finally enough sun to film, so me and Hannah, who would be in my film, went over to Leigh Woods. I had to find a spot that was relatively open, with a tree that had a sturdy branch at a 90-45 degree angle to the trunk, and the space below was soft ground. I had story boarded the film with shots I wanted to take, and I had researched filming techniques for DSLRs, such as lining up the shot, focusing it on manual focus and using a tripod. I used the storyboard as a guide, and if I came up with a good idea for a shot on the spot I would do it and experiment a bit. The outline for the film was; Hannah would be standing still under the sculpture, and begin to dance, then after about 2 minutes of this she would stop and start to walk through the woods. This would last for 30 seconds to 1 minute, and she would come out a Abbots Pool. There she would stand at the edge, raise her arms overhead and leap in. I would film her floating on her back, and then she would crawl out. This would then loop 2-3 times, each loop getting shorter and shorter until the final loop, which would be a 1 second shot from each scene – dance, walking and pool – and then a shot of her face, her eyes open as she gasps. The first part of filming went to plan, but the pool was very cold so Hannah decided that she didn’t want to go in. Instead I shot her sitting on the edge of the pool, her feet dipping in, the she lies back on the ground. Then a couple of shots of her lying down from different angles, then I filmed the wake up shot of her head and shoulders. Each shot was about 1 minute long, and the dancing was shot with some music by Grimes, as this was the feel that I wanted, however I planned on muting the footage when I edited it and creating my own music for the film using GarageBand, and slowing or speeding up the dancing clips to match the tempo of my music if needed. I’m currently working on editing the footage, and have just over 2 weeks until the end of my project. For my exhibition, I initially planned to have the sculpture hanging and the film projected through it, but now I think that I will just have the sculpture hanging in a corner, as my college said that film work would be projected in a film room on a loop with the other films that people have made.
The whole film is about the flow of consciousness, the process of life and rebirth (which I guess also relates back to Michael Beutler’s work), and how we must wake up from the great dream of existence.
I’m also finishing off my resurrection series of ceramics. I practiced breaking a pot and glueing it back together with glitter glue using a vase I bought in a charity shop. I used superglue at first, but this wouldn’t work, so I tried industrial adhesive, which did. I also had to put a thin layer of glue along the cracks on the outside and apply the glitter that way. I also think the Kintsugi relates back to Michael Beutler, and not wanting to waste anything.
For the glazes on my pots, I had intended originally to use bright glazes, but the underglazes I tested were not bright enough or solid enough for me. I then wanted to try a feldspathic, volcanic or salt glaze, but after talking to the ceramics technicians I found out that I was not allowed to do salt glazes in college for safety reasons, and I couldn’t find any local place to buy a feldspathic or volcanic glaze from. My choices then were to either use a bright earthenware glaze, or to experiment with the stoneware glazes at college. I tried out a couple, below, which we DS and Chun with Lavender Black. I like the thickness of the Chun as it melts and goes lumpy.
My focus now towards the end of this project is to finish editing my film, have my glazed pots fired so that I can smash and glaze them, then plan out my exhibition.